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Decision Inc. improves budgeting capabilities for world leader in diversified natural resources

Decision Inc. has assisted a global leader in the production and trading of commodities in streamlining its budgeting process using one of the most complex implementations of SAP Business Planning and Consolidation in Africa. The project has reduced their budget cycle from a year to one month.

The client is a global, integrated commodity producer and marketer. Its business covers more than 90 commodities encompassing metals and minerals, energy products and agricultural products, as well as related marketing and logistics activities.

Traditionally, the client handled the mine and budget planning as two separate processes, however, such is the extent of its operations and the complexity of the systems, that planners could take a year to develop long-term strategic plans for the organisation.

“The significance of the amount of man hours spent developing these plans that could range from five to 50 years cannot be overstated. Further complicating matters, the teams were doing all their planning on basic spreadsheets. They therefore needed to find a way of combining both mine and budget planning components into an integrated system,” Allan Saffy, Executive for Enterprise Performance Management at Decision Inc.

The nature of the project made it both challenging and complex.

“We met different functional teams within the client and had many design sessions with them. It was important to document every process and every outcome that they needed to improve their processes. While this was quite a time-consuming process, it was critical to set the correct foundation in place.”

The design and development of the system took two years and once this was complete, Decision Inc. then went into a process of testing. During this time, they flooded the system with data and continually evolved its capabilities and functionalities to meet specific business requirements. This testing was completed in six months with the client going live with the implementation shortly thereafter.

This successful SAP BPC implementation means that the process of going through an entire budgeting cycle takes a month as opposed to a year, a significant time improvement which has long-reaching impact on business planning and productivity.

“The client now has a more controlled process in place that is less reliant on estimates and far more accurate and precise,” says Saffy. “Using the new system means the team can present the numbers in a fraction of the time it used to take them. Furthermore the results they produce are considerably more reliable than those from the spreadsheet-driven approach of the past.”

Currently, Decision Inc. is providing the client with ongoing support alongside continuous refining and streamlining of various aspects within the system.

“The business is complex and the opportunities to improve the master data processes see us enhancing the system continuously for the client,” he concludes.

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